Dear Cubicle Coach: I'm in a position of authority, and I think
one of my subordinates has anorexia. It hasn't affected her work, but
she's lost a lot of weight lately and she seems very unhappy. Is it
overstepping to say something?
Dear Walking on a Thin Line: As the Coach's ever-helpful
labor attorney on call so aptly puts it, "Even the most
well-intentioned action toward an employee can be misinterpreted." No
matter how Nicole Richie - like your minion appears,
don't bring it up without first notifying HR, which can help you frame
your conversation around work-related symptoms rather than personal
concern. The goal is to offer support without compromising your ability
to raise performance issues later. Sorry to go all legalese on you, but
you're a boss, and you know half your job is avoiding lawsuits. So
whether a colleague shows up to a meeting with bruises on her arm,
powder under her nose, or a protuberant clavicle, always consult an expert before getting involved.